A gift for Pacman

08/01/2010 - Strong, proud and faithful.
These are the impressions Cebuano visual artist MarVidal said he wanted to leave to viewers of his latest masterpiece, a life-size portrait of People's Champ and now Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.

The oil painting was commissioned by Pacquiao during a visit to Cebu during the Sinulog last year.

It took Vidal 14 months to paint the champ based on his photo appearing in the front cover of Reader’s Digest magazine, where Pacquiao was the cover story.

The oil painting is due to be picked up from Vidal’s studio in Lapu-Lapu city this week and to be displayed in Pacquiao’s mansion in General Santos City.

Although Pacquiao asked how much it would cost, Vidal said he offered his services as a gift instead.

“If I were to charge, it would be worth millions but I told Pacquiao that he deserved to be well-rewarded because of what he did for our country. I told him that I was giving it to him as a symbol of our friendship,” Vidal said.

Known for his vivid portraits in pastel, charcoal, paint and oil, Vidal has done portraits of public figures like Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, former presidents Corazon Aquino on oil and Joseph Estrada on charcoal and Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

Vidal told CEBU DAILY NEWS that he met Pacquaio while he and other Cebuano artists were doing a nude sketch session at a downtown hotel in last year's Sinulog festivities.

Describing him as “funny, kind and very patient”, Vidal said Pacquiao so enjoyed looking at Vidal’s sketches that he canceled all his appointments and just talked with the painter until 7 a.m.

Vidal said Pacman confided to him that he wanted to paint someday. That's when Vidal volunteered to do his portrait.

He said Pacquiao immediately agreed and asked about the price but Vidal assured the champ that he would give it to him as a gift.

Since then, Pacquiao would regularly call the painter or meet him whenever the boxer was in Cebu.

Vidal said he usually takes him seven to eight months to complete a painting. Pacquiao’s portrait took nearly 14 months. Vidal said he studied the boxer’s photo for a month to plan for his painting.

He said the oil painting consists of five layers, with each layer left to dry for a month in order to emphasize the subject's strength and depth.

Details like skin color, rubber gloves and even the garter band of the boxing shorts were meticulously etched. The hardest part was depicting the sweat on his body. Vidal said he wanted to make it appear lifelike.

Instead of a black background, Vidal used what he called “freshmatic colors”. Blue, brown, red and green were used to make a dynamic backdrop.

Several neighbors have dropped by to have their photo taken with the portrait.

“Manny's face is easily recognizable, “ said Vidal.

“This is not just a painting. This is being part of history, Manny's great history. This is not just a portrait of an ordinary person.”
(Cebu Daily News)

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